Florida after the furman decision: The effect of extralegal factors on the processing of capital offense cases


  • Dr. Linda A. Foley Ph.D.

    Professor of Psychology, Corresponding author
    1. University of North Florida
    • Post Office Box 17074, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, 32216
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    • The author is greatly indebted to Richard S. Powell for his comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript and to H. Roger Sharp for his editorial comments. She also would like to express her appreciation to William Sheppard for his legal assistance.


This study investigated the existence of discrimination in the imposition of the death penalty in Florida after the Furman decision of 1972. The purpose of the study was to examine the differential effect of the race and sex of the defendant and the victim on the trial outcome, conviction offense and imposition of the death penalty. Differential treatment was apparent in each of the legal events examined. The results indicate that Florida's post-Furman statute has been unsuccessful in eliminating differential treatment of offenders from the imposition of the death penalty.